Former chief at Hays walks away from personnel firm with £1m

Colin Matthews, the former chief executive of Hays, took home more than £1m last year, including £103,000 for loss of office, even though he restructured himself out of a job and walked straight into a new one.

Colin Matthews, the former chief executive of Hays, took home more than £1m last year, including £103,000 for loss of office, even though he restructured himself out of a job and walked straight into a new one.

The human resources group's report and accounts also show that he got to keep his 600,000 share options in the company, which are currently showing a paper profit of about £262,500.

Mr Matthews left in June to join the water supplier Severn Trent after overseeing the break-up of Hays and the disposal of its haulage and private postal divisions, leaving it as a pure recruitment and personnel company. His pay for the year of £1.025m was made up of £412,000 in base salary, a performance bonus of £282,000, a cash pension top-up of £224,000 and the £103,000 compensation payment. The company defended Mr Matthews's payment for loss of office on the grounds that even though his appointment to Severn Trent was announced on the same day that he left Hays, he did not start his new job for three months.

A spokesman also said that Mr Matthews had been entitled under his contract to one year's severance pay but had volunteered to forego nine months' worth of that because it would have been "inequitable" to have taken the full amount.

Mr Matthews's new job at Severn Trent will be his fourth in as many years. Before Hays, he was managing director of the gas network Transco for 11 months and prior to that he was director of technical operations at British Airways.

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